Does The GOP Have A Future? Not All Republicans Who Go Cruising Are Lindsey Graham, David Dreier And Aaron Schock
Joe Hagan's New York article, Blues Cruise has nothing whatsoever to do with Muddy Waters, Sonny Joe Williamson, Bessie Smith, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush or even Duane Allman or Derek Trucks. Nope, this cruise was a National Review scheme to make some money from a bunch of white reactionaries seeking solace after the GOP debacle in November. The cruise to the Cayman Islands-- "a kind of ark of American alienation," albeit a comfortable one-- featured right-wing operatives like Ralph Reed, John Yoo, Cal Thomas, Scott Rasmussen, Jonah Goldberg, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter and GOP propagandists on what was billed as the “conservative cruise of a lifetime... Nostalgia and loss hung in the air, with much talk of endings, both personal and national." They were worrying that the dominant culture has painted Republicans badly. “[W]e’re the stupid people, we’re the yokels, we’re the dumb, we’re the racists, we’re the hicks, we’re against everything that’s hip and cool.” And old, wealthy, very wealthy, very privileged and very, very, very entitled.And so voters look at the “negotiations” and see on one side the president--the guy who just won the election by a substantial margin--willing to compromise by lowering his revenue target from $1.6 trillion to $1.2 trillion and moving the goalpost for tax-rate increases from $250,000 a year to $400,000 a year. And on the other side, they see Republicans like Huelskamp responding with a one-finger salute to everything.
“Minorities came out like crazy,” said Hassett [a Romney campaign staffer], sighing. “White people didn’t get to the polls. There are far more African-Americans voting than they expected.”Are these the people Republican strategist Mark McKinnon was trying to appeal to in his Daily Beast post this week, All I Want For Christmas Is A New GOP? If so... good luck! He says he's "tired of the Republican Party being the Stupid Party.” He's painfully aware, unlike most of the National Review cruisers that the GOP has become simply "the party is against everything and for nothing. That’s not governing. That’s just lobbing hand grenades."
“In Tampa,” noted Bobbie, a petite woman from Vero Beach, Florida, “they had lots and lots of lines.”
Hassett, with an oddly cheerful, Oh-What-My-Country-Has-Done-Now mien, predicted economic doom under Obama, the most likely scenario being another Great Depression, which would make 2008 look like a joyride.
That prompted a tall, extremely tanned blonde named Kay, from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, to ask Hassett, the co-author of the 1999 book Dow 36,000, “So what do we do with our money?”
He recommended investing in real estate in another country, maybe in Central America somewhere. A woman to Kay’s right wrinkled her nose: How about a Western country? “Okay, if Europe is what you want, go to Poland,” he said optimistically. “Go to Krakow, buy a house for $50,000, and it’s going to be like Paris in a few years.”
As we drained the Pinot Noir, Hassett gave his audience the insider’s view of the Romney campaign, describing how its election-monitoring software crashed on November 6 and Obama was probably behind it, “because those guys are so evil.”
The table grumbled in assent.
“The thing we have to understand is, these are people who don’t have any morals,” said Hassett. “They’ll do anything. I’m one of their No. 1 targets. I mean, they really want me bad.”
“Well, you’re safe on this ship!” said Bobbie boldly.
Then Hassett pivoted to the liberal media. “I actually think that Goebbels was more critical of Hitler than the New York Times is of Obama,” said Hassett, tucking into a piece of strudel. “I was in the middle of the fight against the propaganda, and I have stories like you wouldn’t believe. These people are so evil. They’re basically Fascists. It’s unbelievable.”
...It was hard to lose. And losing didn’t always bring out the best in people. They were struggling to comprehend the rejection, to understand how it had come to this... [A] sense of fear was everywhere on the ship, fear of an impending debt crisis that would crush all fortunes, fear that the Anglo majority was now marginal for the first time in their adult lives, fear that the country the cruisers once knew had fully given way to something more … diverse, foreign, incomprehensible.
All sanity seems to have left the ranks of those in charge of the GOP—or, more accurately, those who want to be in charge. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) demonstrated in a jaw-dropping performance Thursday on Morning Joe the depth of the problem and why we are bound to go over the fiscal cliff. He made it clear he won’t vote for a tax increase on anyone, no matter how much they make. So, by his logic, we will end up going over the cliff, and raise taxes on everybody, because he and too many others like him in the party are unwilling to raise taxes on anyone. This intransigence will also make a core Republican tenet of broader tax reform more difficult to pursue because the new Congress will then be fixated on smaller bore issues like fixing the rates.
But there’s more. Huelskamp’s response to the Newtown tragedy? No need to change any gun laws. (Not even better enforcement of the laws we have?) And those who suggest any changes are simply “politicizing” the situation to fit their political agenda. Was George W. Bush “politicizing” 9/11 when he created the Department of Homeland Security? If so, then by all means shouldn’t we “politicize” in the wake of a national tragedy?
Other Republican elected officials said they wanted to wait to see what the National Rifle Association had to say. On Friday, Wayne LaPierre delivered. No new gun laws, but how about an armed guard in every school, because “the only answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Then LaPierre went on to blame every other facet of our culture for the problem. Now, I don’t disagree that much goes into the cultural equation causing violence, and much needs to be considered to address the root causes, like mental health and violent media. But in 2008, the U.S. reportedly recorded 11,000 gun-related deaths, and Japan recorded 11-- and I believe the Japanese play video games. So maybe we should at least include guns in the discussion.
...It’s a very odd situation when the losing party is the party refusing to negotiate. It may be how you disrupt, but it is not how you govern, or how you ever hope to regain a majority.
And so, we have a Republican Party today willing to eliminate any prospect for a decent future for anyone, including itself, if it cannot be a future that is 100 percent in accordance with its core beliefs and principles. That’s not governing. That’s just lobbing hand grenades. If you’re only standing on principle to appear taller, then you appear smaller. And the GOP is shrinking daily before our eyes.
Ronald Reagan was long thought to be the most conservative of Republicans. And by any standard today he is the most popular Republican in modern history. Yet he raised taxes 11 times, supported a ban on assault rifles and the Brady Bill, which mandated background checks, and established amnesty for 3 million undocumented workers.
No one questioned Reagan’s principles or values. But he was seen as great because he had the ability to maintain his principles while adapting, evolving, and negotiating as the world around him changed. When I raise these issues, many of my Republican friends respond, “We will not become a stronger Republican Party by acting more like the Democratic Party.” And I say, “No, we become a stronger Republican Party by acting like reasonable human beings who acknowledge reality.”
The world is still changing. Faster than ever. And so should the Republican Party. Or condemn itself to a smaller and smaller base of core supporters and permanent minority status. The cruisers, at least, have already spoken, And that chose the latter. You think the Fox-brainwashed base is going to make a smarter choice?